When children are small they are taught that if they see another child being bullied, they should either try to stop the act, or find and adult and ask for help. Yet, as the children grow up, the term ‘tattle tale’ becomes associated with children, who abide by the earlier learnt skill, who seek help and potentially place others in trouble. The child knows that there is something wrong and seeks to restore balance therefore applying an already learnt moral. According to Plato’s Definition of knowledge as justified true belief, for something to be knowledge the pervious statement has to apply.
By using the four different ways of knowing: perception, emotion, language, and reason cone can combine the ways thus justifying their belief. From a young age, ethics, which are morals that influence the way that an individual or individuals manage their behavior, are passed on to us through various teachings and upbringings. This set of values we carry throughout our entire life, which is what shapes societies. The different theories of ethics, such as utilitarianism and the self-interest theories are key opposing theories that help understand the issues with ethical responsibility.
Utilitarianism is a school of ethics, which implies that what should be done would be fore the greater good. However, does possession of knowledge imply that one must share the information when asked? How can we determine when ethical responsibility surpasses the need for self-preservation? This knowledge issue spreads across various areas of knowledge such as, the natural science, the arts, and human sciences. One area of knowledge is the natural sciences. The natural sciences include all the hard sciences such as chemistry, physics, and biology.
The hard sciences tend to be the ones that people believe the most in, without questioning the answers that they produce. However, attached to the sciences, there is a phenomenon called pseudoscience that, unlike science, needs no justification or proof and yet, some accredit it with the same credit as that of science. In the case of the Homeopathy research that was done in the late 1980’s and the world rebound scientific journal Nature released the information that homeopathy worked. This was then tested twice more just to be sure that the tests were coherent.
The lead researcher conducted the primary test and his team and the results showed that homeopathy was possible. On the contrary, when a completely new team, who had no affiliation with the whole research project, conducted the experiment the results showed the opposite. When looking at this situation from utilitarianism’s point of view one can see that there automatically rises a dispute as to which of the two benefits the greater good more so than the other. Even when looking at the ethical theory of self-interest, two different personal goals arise.
The use of language and reason allowed for the opposing test results to be presented in such a way that they debunked what the other tests has proven. However, what determines which ethical theory prevails over another? A second area of knowledge that is affected by ethical responsibility is the arts. When an artist paints, does the artist have an ethical responsibility to paint what is indeed there or does this not apply? Throughout the years, there have been different art movements, such as impressionism, cubism, and surrealism.
In the early years the paintings depicted real life situations, however as the years pressed on the need for people to see what was actually there changed. Artists started to depict what they saw, what they thought the world would be. The change in mentality was primarily due to emotion, and perception. These two ways of knowing contributed greatly to artists’ different stylistic periods. The responsibility of the artists becomes more Self interest rather than utilitarianism, this is because the artists does not paint for the audience, he paints for himself and does not worry about the greater good.